I didn’t hear any of the journalists who stalked us during the 2015 General Election campaign complaining about being kept safe from violent, hard left protests by Nigel Farage’s security team. Yet they were. John Stevens (Daily Mail) was one of those journalists.
Imagine my surprise therefore to read his “story” about Mr. Farage’s “bodyguards” – who are in fact former members of Britain’s armed services, employed to keep Nigel, his staff, journalists in tow, and attendees at UK Independence Party (UKIP) events safe. Because not only will the state not protect one of the most prominent politicians in the country – it is actually complicit, along with the media, in attracting violence towards UKIP.
Mr. Stevens – a former researcher for a Labour peer – would perhaps prefer Mr. Farage to be dead; for that is precisely what would have happened by now if the UKIP leader forwent his security team, details of which I know much about, but obviously will not release for the safety of him, his family, and those who work for him.
I was grateful every day for their work, which they do not just because they’re paid professionals, but because they too are incensed that in 2016 Britain, a man who is speaking for (at the last poll) 20 per cent of the British electorate cannot travel freely without being accosted or assaulted.
Remember when he was hit by an egg? Pretty standard for a politician. But what about when he was battered by placards in Kent? Or when protesters attempted to get to him in Edinburgh? Or when he was trapped in a building in Rotherham? Or when his family were attacked?
These are just some of the known, high profile incidents. I could tell you about a few more. Or specifically, what kind of implements are confiscated from people’s bags at UKIP events. (Hint: They’re not butter knives).
During the election there were around eight journalists in tow with Mr. Farage and me, including John Stevens (Mail), Rowena Mason (Guardian), Robert Nisbet (Sky), Alex Forsyth (BBC), Darren McCaffrey (Sky) and Rohit Kachroo (ITV). All of these people, at one point or another, expressed a surprise that Mr. Farage didn’t have state-funded security, or ‘Special Branch’ detail.
They were all, also, at one point or another, caught in the middle of a violent fracas involving hard left protesters – protected of course by Nigel’s security team.
But now we are just a few days from local and London elections. Now we’re just a few months out from the European Union referendum – suddenly the knives are out for Nigel again.
Well there were only a few people, I’m told, who had access to the receipts that were leaked to Mr. Stevens. I’m not going to point fingers. But I have my suspicions.
Finally, it is worth noting that most of Mr. Farage’s security costs are picked up privately. But because a few invoices were erroneously sent by someone who has since been dismissed from their position in the party to the European Parliament, the Mail suddenly believes this is newsworthy.
I wonder how Mr. Stevens would deal in a position like Nigel’s. I’m guessing not very well.